Newberry comes out of first intersquad scrimmage with renewed vigor
Monday, August 18, 2003 | by NC Sports Information

NEWBERRY, S.C. -- The Newberry College Indians went a long way towards getting ready for the 2003 season as the team participated in an intersquad scrimmage Saturday afternoon at Setzler Field. Head Coach Zak Willis was cautiously optimistic on how his team has progressed to this point of the pre-season.

"The offense had a great day on Saturday," said Willis in his Monday morning radio interview. "Our effort was very good and we came out of our scrimmage with no serious injuries."

Though he said the depth chart is not set yet, he said that positions are starting to solidify as players rise to meet challenges.

When asked about selling a winning program to this team, Coach Willis shared his philosophy.

"Selling winning to any team is a mixed bag. It's as multiple as blades of grass, tailored to each individual kid and as a conglomeration to the team as a whole."

The team will scrimmage again next Sunday, August 24, after which time he says the team will begin to game plan for Coastal Carolina, the Indians' first opponent on September 6.

The coordinators commented on Monday's practices and how they related to Saturday's scrimmage.

Defensive Coordinator Todd Knight said "the wheels fell off the wagon" Saturday, referring to the offensive explosion put up again the defense. Coach Knight noted that "to their credit they counterpunched the knockout blow" by showing leadership Monday as the upperclassmen rallied the defense to a solid day back to practice.

He singled out linebackers Terrence Leverett and Stephen Henry for making their presence felt at practice Monday to lead the way. He also noted Todd Geter as a leader in the secondary. Coach Knight said Henry and Jeter have returned to the starting line-up for the defense.

Also in the secondary, the addition of Donovan Flood and Anathan Gibson caused Coach Knight to point out "they have given us the spark we needed."

On the offensive side of the ball, Co-Offensive Coordinator Joe Blackwell beamed about Saturday's scrimmage, but said the team still had a long way to progress to be ready for competition.

He started by saying that Derrick Higgins set the tone with a long pass reception to start the scrimmage.

"The offense competed well and made good plays," said Blackwell. "This team is giving great effort"

He noted that all of the quarterbacks played well.

"We feel confident that we can win with either one (referring to Brian Shealy and Mazi Drummond) as the starter ."

The return of running back Chris Gibbs from injury in spring practice has gotten the attention of the coaching staff, prompting Blackwell to say he "has been a pleasant surprise in camp this fall."

Redshirting freshman Charles Brandon led the scrimmage with six catches.

"We expect big things out of Brandon in the future," said Blackwell.

The Indians will practice once on Tuesday before two more sessions on Wednesday.